Outlook 2014 archive – Speakers and chair profiles

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The Hon. Barnaby Joyce

Minister for Agriculture

The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP is one of a family of eight from a cattle and sheep business in southern New England. After graduating with a degree in accountancy, Barnaby spent three years with a chartered accountancy firm then a short period with an American multinational in cost accounting before completing five years with a major regional bank.

With a choice between a senior role in banking or starting his own business Barnaby chose the latter and owned and operated Barnaby Joyce and Co for ten years. His role in the National Party had concurrently taken him to Acting Treasurer of the Queensland Nationals. In 2004 he was elected to head of the National Senate team and won back the previously lost Senate seat.

In the Senate he was a voting member of the Senate Economics Committee and was author of “The Birdsville Amendment” to protect small business.

In 2009 he was elected to the role of Nationals Leader in the Senate.

His previous role was the Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water, which included leading the response to the Murray-Darling Basin plan.

Barnaby is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary, former serving member of the Australian Defence Force Reserves and long term member of St Vincent De Paul. He represented central North NSW in rugby, has three times been the subject for the Archibald Prize and is married to Natalie and has four daughters.

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Karen Schneider


Karen Schneider was appointed Executive Director of ABARES in November 2013. In this position she oversees the Bureau's program of work, including research and commodity analysis. Prior to that, she was First Assistant Secretary of the Department of Agriculture's Biosecurity Animal Division, Executive Director of the Bureau of Rural Sciences and Deputy Executive Director of ABARES.

Karen spent eight years as an analyst at the International Energy Agency at the OECD, following several positions as an economist in the Australian public service. She holds qualifications in Applied Science from the University of New South Wales.

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Alan Oster

National Australia Bank Limited

Alan Oster is NAB's Group Chief Economist.

Alan joined the Bank in 1992 from the Federal Treasury where he worked for 15 years - his special field being economic forecasting and monetary policy.

He grew up in Newcastle and graduated (with first class honours) in economics from Newcastle University. He also holds a Masters degree in economics from the Australian National University.

Immediately before joining the Bank, Alan was the Senior Adviser in Treasury responsible for economic forecasting and modelling. In 1987 he was seconded for nearly four years as Counsellor-Economic and Financial with Australia's delegation to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris.

As Group Chief Economist, Alan is responsible for NAB's global economic and financial forecasts. He is also a highly respected and much quoted commentator on Australian and global economic trends and policy issues.

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Jammie Penm


Dr Jammie Penm is Chief Commodity Analyst and Assistant Secretary, Agricultural Commodities and Trade Branch in ABARES. His professional expertise and achievements revolve around commodity analysis and economic research that are important to Australia's primary industries.

He has a PhD in econometrics from the Australian National University and a Master's degree in economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Before joining ABARES, Dr Penm worked at the Australian National University, the former Industries Assistance Commission and the State University of New York at Stony Brook in the United States.

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Matt Linnegar

National Farmers' Federation

Matt Linnegar joined the NFF as Chief Executive Officer in March 2011.

Matt comes to the NFF after 17 years in agricultural representation - including diverse leadership, management and marketing roles in irrigation, rice, and meat and livestock industries.

In his previous position as General Manager, Corporate and Customer Operations at Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited he was responsible for leading the corporate and customer parts of the business including policy, public relations, communications, customer service, operations and environmental management. Matt was responsible for leading all external relations including governments, the media and other stakeholders, he also provided key advice and input into the management of the business and development of strategy.

When Executive Director, Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia, Matt was responsible for leading a small, team representing the interests of rice growers on the national and international stage. He was responsible for all facets of the organisation including advocacy, policy, membership, public relations, Research & Development and a range of programs.

He holds a degree in Applied Science (Systems Agriculture) from the University of Western Sydney (Hawkesbury), is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership program and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Paul Morris

Agricultural Competitiveness Taskforce Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Paul Morris has been a professional public servant in the agricultural, fisheries and forestry areas for 30 years. During this time he has served in policy, research, and senior management positions. He is currently leading the Agricultural Competitiveness Taskforce in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. In this position he is overseeing the development of the Australian Government’s White Paper on agricultural competitiveness, which will drive the long-term agricultural policies of the Government. Mr Morris was previously Executive Director of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES). He has also held a number of senior positions in the Department of Agriculture and had a posting at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC.

Mr Morris has qualifications in economics from the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University.

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Craig Burns

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Craig Burns commenced his role as Managing Director of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation in July 2010. He previously held several senior positions in the Australian Government where he focused on trade and development policies for primary industries.

His roles have included engagement on a range of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade agreements, international agricultural cooperation and minerals and energy policy. Craig has extensive experience working with international organisations including the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the OECD.

From 1999-2002 he was Minister-Counsellor (Agriculture) at the Australian Delegation to the OECD. He was Chairman of the International Grains Council from 2001 to 2002, Vice-Chair of the OECD Committee for Agriculture from 2002 to 2004 and Chair of the OECD Joint Working Party on Agriculture and Trade from 2004 to 2006. He is currently a Director of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (appointed 16 November 2012).

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Ken Ash

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Prior to becoming OECD Director of Trade and Agriculture in 2008, Mr. Ash had served as Deputy Director since 1999. Mr. Ash leads OECD efforts to develop and communicate evidence-based advice to governments, with the aim at helping them improve the domestic and international performance of their policies in the areas of trade, food, agriculture and fisheries.

Upon joining the OECD Mr. Ash brought with him 20 years of extensive experience from the Government of Canada where he held several senior positions in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. As Director General, Economic and Policy Analysis, from 1995-1999, he provided strategic policy guidance on key agriculture and trade policy issues and on government-wide policy and organizational reforms.

Mr. Ash, a Canadian national, holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and an MBA (International Business and Resource Management).

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Peter Gooday


Mr Peter Gooday leads ABARES research on farm analysis, productivity and social sciences. Recent work in this area focused on providing analysis and policy advice on factors affecting agricultural profitability and productivity growth.

Peter has been involved in a broad range of research and analysis, including water market reform, productivity analysis, fisheries management, economic issues associated with native forestry; meeting environmental objectives cost-effectively as well issues affecting international and domestic mineral industries and commodity analysis.

He has a Degree in Economics with honours from the Australian National University.

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Robert Henry

Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation

Professor Robert Henry is Professor of Innovation in Agriculture and Foundation Director of the Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation (QAAFI), a new Institute of the University of Queensland established in collaboration with the Queensland Government.

He was previously Director of the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics at Southern Cross University, Research Director of the Grain Foods CRC and Research Program Leader in the Queensland Agricultural Biotechnology Centre. His current research targets plant genome sequencing to capture of novel genetic resources for diversification of food crops to deliver improved food products.

Robert has been involved in establishing several Cooperative Research Centres in Australia; has contributed to the management of research funding by Rural Research and Development Corporations and is a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts and the Plant Breeders Rights Advisory Committee. He is a graduate of the University of Queensland (B Sc (Hons)), Macquarie University (M Sc (Hons)) and La Trobe University (Ph D). He was awarded a higher doctorate (D Sc) by the University of Queensland for his work on variation in plants, is a Fellow of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute and a recipient of the Guthrie Medal for his contributions to cereal chemistry. Robert is a senior editor of the Plant Biotechnology Journal and an associate editor of Conservation Genetics.

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Matthew Koval

Department of Agriculture

Mr Koval is the acting First Assistant Secretary of the Agricultural Productivity Division within the Department of Agriculture. Matt's prior roles included Assistant Secretary of the Livestock Industries and Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Branch and Minister Counsellor (Agriculture) based in Brussels, Belgium.

The Agricultural Productivity Division develops and implements policies and programs that aim to make Australia's agricultural food and fibre industries more globally competitive and profitable. It does this by working collaboratively with industry, portfolio agencies, governments and the community on activities to enhance industry development and reduce market impediments across the value chain, from paddock to the finished product.

Mr Koval's tertiary qualifications include science, public administration and applied finance. He has a background in domestic and international agricultural policies at state and Australian Government levels on a broad range of issues including drought management, farmer education and training, agricultural chemicals, rural adjustment, rural financial counselling and water management initiatives. He is a previous Chairman of the International Grains Council.

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Trish Gleeson


Trish Gleeson is a Senior Economist in the Agricultural Commodities and Trade Branch of ABARES with a major focus on livestock commodities and markets. Last year she worked on a strategy for the northern Australian beef industry, assessing the risks and opportunities for the industry. This year she is turning her attention to an assessment of food and fibre supply chains in northern Australia.

Prior to her current role, Trish managed ABARES program of energy research where her team was responsible for the production of Australia's energy statistics and projections for the International Energy Agency. Between 2004 and 2008 she worked on trade issues in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and prior to this spent a period of time in ABARES as a livestock commodities analyst covering the meat, wool and dairy industries.

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Scott Hansen

Meat & Livestock Australia

Scott Hansen was appointed Managing Director of Meat & Livestock Australia in July 2011.

Scott has a broad depth of industry knowledge and experience having spent the last 15 years in executive roles providing services to the red meat and livestock industry.

Joining MLA in 2004, Scott has served in two senior management roles within MLA. From July 2009 to July 2011, Scott was based in MLA's US office in Washington as MLA's Regional Manager in North America; and from 2004 to 2009, Scott was based in MLA's Sydney office as General Manager for Corporate Communications, which incorporated MLA's livestock export program for South East Asia and the Middle East.

Prior to MLA, Scott served as the Executive Director of the Sheepmeat Council of Australia, Executive Director of Victorian Farmers' Federation Pastoral Group, and worked with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.

Scott's passion for agriculture started with his family's involvement in farming in Innisfail, north Queensland, and later in Stanthorpe, in south east Queensland. This was enhanced further at the University of New England, where he obtained his rural science degree. Prior to commencing his professional career, Scott spent a couple of years working in agricultural industries in Europe and the Middle East - sparking his interest in agricultural trade and market access.

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Andrew Spencer

Australian Pork Limitied

Mr Spencer has been employed as the CEO of Australian Pork Limited since July of 2005. Through that period he has helped to work the industry through significant challenges, including the 2009 'Swine Flu' pandemic, large increases in imported pork volumes into Australia and a profitability crisis in 2007/8.

Prior to 2005, Mr Spencer worked over a period of ten years in France, South Africa and Germany in the agricultural biotechnology, seeds and chemicals business. He commenced his career in Australia in marketing and product management in the agricultural chemicals business sector after completing his studies in the mid 80's.

He has an Agricultural Science degree from Melbourne University.

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Peter Collins


Peter is manager of the Agricultural Commodities Section at ABARES, which produces the outlook for Australia's major agricultural commodities published each quarter in Agricultural Commodities and the Australian Crop Report. Peter has been in this role since April 2010.

Peter has worked as an economist for the majority of the time since he started with the public sector in 1992, and whilst at ABARES, has worked in the fields of fisheries and agriculture.

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Robert Poole

Murray Goulburn Co-operative

Robert is General Manager Shareholder Relations for Murray Goulburn Co-operative (MG) - Australia's largest dairy company. MG has approximately 2,500 suppliers, 2,100 employees and in 2012/13achieved revenue of A$2.4 billion.

Robert is responsible for all MG supplier/shareholder related business units including milk supply, field services, mg trading, corporate affairs, shareholder information and MG's interaction with industry and government policy.

Robert is President of the Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF), the peak body representing dairy companies.

Robert grew up in Wedderburn in north central Victoria and has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne and a Masters of Business Leadership from RMIT. Robert has spent 20 years in agribusiness including roles with Rural Finance and the Australian Dairy Farmers Federation.

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Gregory J McNamara

Norco Co-operative Limited

Greg McNamara has been a director of Norco Co-operative Limited for 17 years and is from the Central Region. In addition to his role as Chairman of the Board of Directors, he is Chairman of the Remuneration Advisory Committee and a member of the Communication Committee.

Greg runs a 300 head dairy herd in partnership with his wife Sue and son Todd at Goolmangar. He has extensive experience across the agricultural sector, including dairy, beef, pigs, horticulture and animal genetics.

2012/13 has been a very demanding but rewarding year for the Board of Directors. As Chairman, Greg has been focused on the process of successfully leading the Board through a major business acquisition and new major contractual arrangements with Coles and has also spent considerable time communicating with Norco's Members and major stakeholders about those arrangements. Within the Board room environment, Greg encourages open and frank discussions as well as holding the view that working collectively together brings about a better outcome for all stakeholders.

Greg is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and has previously completed their Company Directors' Course. Greg attended the International Year of Cooperatives National Conference in October 2012, the 2013 Australia and New Zealand Co-operative Leaders' Forum in Melbourne during April 2013 and has been invited to attend and speak at several functions and conferences including the 2013 NSW DIAA Conference. Throughout the year, Greg has been an active member of the Toastmasters organisation.

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John Williams

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory

John is the general manager responsible for sales and marketing at Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory, as well as overseeing the company's innovation program.

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter is Australia's oldest dairy company and has a focused global growth strategy with 60% of its current sales revenue coming from outside of Australia. They were the 2013 Victorian exporter of the year and a past winner of the Regional Australian exporter award.

John is part of the company's Executive Management team and is the Chair of the company's Research & Development Group. He is also the Vice President of the Australian Dairy Products Federation and a director of the Australian Dairy Industry Council - the peak body for the Australian dairy industry.

John has lived and worked internationally with most of that time spent in Asia. John has a Bachelor of Economics (Asian Studies) from the Australian National University, a Graduate Diploma in International Business from Monash University; a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

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Richard Clark

Grains Research and Development Corporation

Appointed Chairman of the GRDC from 1 October 2013.

Richard Clark is a farmer and company director from Tulloona, NSW, where he and his wife Barbara run an intensive 1340ha grain enterprise, focussing on summer and winter cereals, pulses and oilseeds.

Richard is a graduate of the Orange Agricultural College and a Fellow and graduate of the Australian Institute of Company directors. He has extensive experience as a director and Chairman of organisations in the agricultural sector and more specifically, the grains industry. His experience includes the positions of founding Chair of the NSW Farmers Grains Research Committee and Chairman of the Wheat Research Foundation of NSW. He has served as a Director of wheat breeding company Advantage Wheats Pty Ltd, ChemCert Ltd, GrainFoods CRC and Quality Farms Australia, and was a past Director of the GRDC from 1996 until 2002.

During his career, Richard has also held leadership positions within a number of national agricultural bodies. He was a councillor of the Grains Council of Australia and a councillor of the National Farmers Federation, where he was a member of the Trade committee, Economic committee, Climate Change taskforce and Industrial Relations committee.

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Neil Thompson


Neil Thompson is a research economist in the Agricultural Commodities and Trade Branch at ABARES. Since joining the Bureau in 2009, Neil's work has centred on commodity and macroeconomic analysis and forecasting. He has also worked on specific projects relating to Australian agricultural production, horticultural export regulations, food security and Australia's food trade.

Neil holds a Master's degree in economic policy from the Australian National University and bachelor degrees in economics and management and a diploma of languages from the University of Canberra.

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Joseph W. Glauber

US Department of Agriculture

Joseph Glauber currently serves as Chief Economist at the Department of Agriculture (USDA). As Chief Economist, he is responsible for the Department's agricultural forecasts and projections and for advising the Secretary of Agriculture on the economic implications of alternative programs, regulations and legislative proposals. He is responsible for the Office of the Chief Economist, the World Agricultural Outlook Board, the Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit analysis, the Global Change Program Office, the Office of Environmental Markets, and the Office of Energy Policy and New Uses. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.

From 1992 to 2007, Dr. Glauber served as Deputy Chief Economist at the USDA. In 2007 he was named the Special Doha Agricultural Envoy at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative where he served as chief agricultural negotiator in the Doha talks until January 2009. In addition to his work in the Doha negotiations, he served as economic adviser at the so-called Blair House agreements leading to the completion of the Uruguay Round negotiations. He is the author of numerous studies on crop insurance, disaster policy and U.S. farm policy. He has also served as senior staff economist for agriculture, natural resources and trade at the President's Council of Economic Advisers and as an economist at the Economic Research Service, USDA.

Dr. Glauber received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 and holds an AB in anthropology from the University of Chicago. In 2012, he was elected Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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Murray Scholz

'Dunoon' Culcairn, NSW / Nuffield Scholar

Murray, with his wife Emma, farms at Culcairn in southern NSW producing wheat, canola, barley and beef cattle. Murray has an interest in the use of management and technology to make agricultural systems more sustainable and resilient. In 2011 he was one of the first Australians to complete The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP) which is run by Texas A & M University. He has been a member of the steering committee to form a grower owned local grain company, and was the founding chairman of his local Landcare group. He was awarded a Nuffield scholarship in 2008 looking at the sustainability of weed management systems, especially herbicide tolerant genetically modified crops. He is a director of Nuffield Australia and is currently treasurer and chair of the Finance and Investment sub-committees. He has presented at the International Weed Science Congress, and the The Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology GM crops seminar. He is a member of the Industry Advisory council of the Graham Centre, a collaborative research centre between Charles Sturt University & NSW DPI. He was also a member of the NFF Blueprint for Agriculture review panel.

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Dr Caroline Gunning-Trant


Dr Caroline Gunning-Trant is manager of the Agricultural Trade section at ABARES. In the past she has researched the wool, wine and cattle markets while part of the Agricultural Commodities section at ABARES, and before that she worked as an economist at the Canadian Department of Agriculture. Her more recent work includes the production of What Asia wants: an analysis of future food demand in Asia; research on agricultural policies in India, and analysis on the impact of trade agreements on the Australian agricultural sector.

Caroline holds a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of California at Davis and a Master's degree in agricultural economics from the University of Guelph in Canada.

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John Cameron

'Kintyre' Bongeen, QLD

John Cameron was born, raised and educated at Walcha, NSW and graduated from the University of New England with a Bachelor of Rural Science (Hons).

Ten years of employment in the commercial world throughout north west NSW and Queensland with a major agricultural chemical company followed. Exposure to commercial crop agronomy, ag chemical product registration trialling, extension agronomy, product marketing and team leading gave John an appetite to 'have his own go'.

Married in 1988, John and Rosalen then embarked on their own journey. They leased farming country at Bongeen on the Central Darling Downs, found a business partner and their own business was started. Manufacturing farm machinery, farm contracting and farming was the background to the then grain growing business. Cotton was first trialled in the early 1990s, and through a series of good and bad seasons ever since, has become the main crop of the business.

Since the early 2000s, John and Ros have operated on their own, raised a family and continue to purchase and lease farming country in the district as funds and opportunities arise.

Dryland cotton production, supplemented with some grain production is now the mainstay of the farming operation. The Camerons also operate as farm contractors to supplement farm income and allow some economy of scale for their modern farm plant.

John has long term relationships with a number of cotton industry service providers. He has held positions with his local Cotton Growers Association for many years, including two years as President. He is currently chair of Cotton Australia's Farmers panel sub-committee, charged with providing practical feedback to CA and CRDC on research proposals in the farm and productivity areas.

John has recently been honoured by his industry, being awarded by his local Cotton Growers Association with the 2013 "Service to Industry" award, and the prestigious "Monsanto Cotton Grower of the Year" at the 2013 Australian Cotton Industry National Awards.

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Allan Wang

Australian Wool Innovation

Allan joined Australian Wool Innovation in 2011 as an analyst within the Business Intelligence Unit.

Allan is responsible for providing information services to its internal and external stakeholders by undertaking a broad review of the global market for wool and competitor fibres. Some of the information includes wool production forecasting, retail and trade market condition, consumer insights, trend monitoring and fibre market research.

He has an Honours Degree in Agriculture Economics from The University of Sydney.

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Lindsay Hogan

Lindsay Hogan is a Senior Economist in the Farm Analysis, Productivity and Social Sciences Branch at ABARES. In the past, she has researched a range of agricultural, resource and trade issues. Her more recent work includes infrastructure and Australia's food industry, biosecurity, pet food safety and global food security.

Lindsay holds a master of economics degree from the Australian National University and an honours degree in economics from Macquarie University in Sydney.

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Russell Smith

Port of Brisbane

Russell is the Chief Executive Officer of Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd responsible for overall performance of the QPortHoldings group.

Russell is an experienced port and transport executive with an engineering degree and an MBA specialising in strategic management. His initial career was spent on the provision of port engineering, business planning and M & A advisory services for the port industry worldwide. Russell then moved into the direct acquisition of port assets to build one of Europe's largest port holdings for Prime Infrastructure. Following this, he moved into an asset management role, with responsibility for Brookfield's global portfolio of transport assets including the Chairmanship of Teesport, Euroports, Westnet Rail and DBCT, assets encompassing 21 ports globally and over 5000km of railway.

Russell is also Chairman of Queensland Ports Association, a Director of Ports Australia and a member of the Infrastructure Queensland Board.

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Jayne Gallagher

Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre

Recognised nationally and internationally for her work, Jayne has extensive experience in facilitating industry driven and commercially viable change programs in the Australian seafood industry. She has been in her current role at the Australian Seafood CRC since its inception in 2007, having also been a key member of the CRC bid team. Previous roles include Business Development Manager with Seafood Services Australia Ltd and 15 years working for the Federal Government in the Agriculture, Trade and Foreign Affairs portfolios. In her current role Jayne manages a large and diverse research portfolio to support Australia's domestic and international seafood market development. Over the last three years much of Jayne's work has involved working with industry groups to build a sustainable export platform for seafood to China.

Jayne's professional credentials include a BSc and MBA (Exec). She has a special interest in developing industry driven commercially viable and sustainable change programs. Jayne was elected as President of the International Association of Seafood Professionals (IAFI) in 2005 and held the position until 2009, chairing the 6th, 7th and 8th World Seafood Congress. She is currently a member of the Executive Board of IAFI.

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Phillip Glyde

Department of Agriculture

Phillip Glyde is a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Agriculture and former Executive Director of ABARES, which provides economic policy analysis and forecasts to enhance the competitiveness of Australia's agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries.

Phillip's work with the Australian Government has been in natural resource management, environment and industry issues in both the domestic and international spheres.

Phillip has a degree in Natural Resource Management with honours from the University of New England and a Bachelor of Economics degree from the Australian National University.

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Tassos Haniotis

European Commission

Tassos Haniotis is currently the Director of the Economic Analysis, Perspectives and Evaluations Directorate in the Directorate General for Agriculture of the European Commission. He is also acting Director of the Direct Support, Management of Market Measures and Promotion Directorate.

He previously held posts as Head of Unit in the Agricultural Policy Analysis and Perspectives unit and the Agricultural Trade Policy Analysis unit in the same Directorate General, as Member and subsequently Deputy Head of the Cabinet of former European Commissioner for Agriculture Franz Fischler (with respective responsibilities the preparation of the 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, and the agricultural chapter of the Doha WTO Round and the EU-Mercosur negotiations), and as the Agricultural Counsellor of the European Commission's Delegation in the United States.

He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Georgia, USA, and a B.A. in Economics from the Athens University of Economics and Business, in his native Greece. Before joining the European Commission, he spent six months as a visiting Fellow at the Centre for European Agricultural Studies, Wye College, University of London, focusing on EU-US agricultural trade relations in the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations. He is currently a member of the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium Executive Committee.

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Berry Marttin

Rabobank The Netherlands

Berry Marttin (born and raised in Brazil) is the Executive Board member responsible for the International Rural and Retail division of Rabobank International. He joined Rabobank as an international management trainee in 1990, after completing a degree in business administration in Brazil. His career at Rabobank International has given him extensive experience as an international banker, in both the wholesale and retail banking business.

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Mariele Pickler

Bayer Cropscience Brazil

Mariele works for Bayer Cropscience as a Market Development Agronomist, drawing on her background as an engineer agronomist and Masters Degree in Business Administration (MBA) in Agribusiness from Fundacao Getulio Vargas. Her professional experience includes commodities trading (soybean and corn), agrochemical dealers and retailers, marketing and sales in the agribusiness, customer services, strategic planning and lead teams. Mariele has worked in a number of different regions in Brazil, including Mato Grosso, a large soybean producer of Brazil.

Mariele, husband Maicon Thomas, agronomist and soybean farmer, and her family have livestock farms in Mato Grosso do Sul, located in central Brazil. She currently lives in Goiania, the capital of Goias, an important agricultural state of Brazil.

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Michael Harris


Dr Michael Harris began as the Chief Economist of ABARES in July 2012. In this position he is responsible for overseeing and shaping ABARES portfolio of economic research. Michael started his professional life in (the former) ABARE, and has since spent several decades in academic and policy research positions, including at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne and at La Trobe University.

Michael has a PhD from the University of Melbourne, and has taught at that university, La Trobe University, and most recently in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Sydney, where he was Associate Professor. He has published in and refereed for a number of national and international scholarly journals, is on the editorial boards of two journals, and is currently Associate Editor of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

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Fran Freeman

Department of Agriculture

Ms Fran Freeman is the current First Assistant Secretary (FAS) of the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Adaptation and Forestry Division and the Commonwealth representative of the National Rural Advisory Council. She has a broad range of experience in agricultural, trade and biosecurity matters.

Fran previously managed the Department of Agriculture’s Governance Division for two years and prior to that, responsible for the design and rollout of the WA drought pilot.

Fran’s previous roles include the Executive Manager of the Quarantine and Biosecurity Policy Unit responsible for managing the government’s response and early implementation of the Beale review and heading up the Secretariat of the Quarantine and Biosecurity Review.

From July 2006 to February 2008, Fran managed the department’s International Division’s Multilateral Trade Branch with responsibility for WTO agriculture and SPS matters, OECD, FAO, APEC and trade and environment matters. Fran completed a three year posting as Minister Counsellor (Agriculture) at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC and was the Chief Economist, Agriculture and Trade Branch, at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).

Fran has a bachelor degree in agricultural economics from the University of New England, completed the Australian Rural Leadership Program in 2000, twice named in Australia’s Top 100 Women in Agriculture and is an active member of the State Emergency Service.

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Robert Vertessy

Bureau of Meteorology

In 2012, Dr Rob Vertessy was appointed as the Director and CEO of the Bureau of Meteorology, Australia's national weather, climate and water information service. Prior to that, he was head of the Bureau's Climate and Water Division, which includes responsibility for the National Climate Centre, the national flood forecasting and warning service, the agency's new water information function, as well as a new initiative laying the foundations for a National Plan for Environmental Information. Rob commenced that role in 2007 after a 20-year career as a research scientist at CSIRO.

At CSIRO, Rob specialised in forest hydrology and catchment modelling and is widely published in those fields. Rob served as Chief Executive of the CRC for Catchment Hydrology (2002-2004) and Chief of CSIRO Land and Water (2004-2007). Between his CSIRO and Bureau appointments, Rob was seconded to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to advise on the establishment of a national water information strategy (2006). That strategy was ultimately taken up by the Australian Government in 2007 and is now being implemented by the Bureau.

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Peter Hayman


Dr Peter Hayman is the Principal Scientist in Climate Applications at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) based at the Waite Institute, a position he has held since May 2004. Prior to moving to Adelaide he was coordinator of climate applications for NSW Agriculture. He is an agricultural scientist with an interest in applying climate information to dryland and irrigated farming systems with a recent focus on managing climate risk in the irrigated wine grape industry and low rainfall grains industry.

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Mick Stephens

Australian Forest Products Association

Mick Stephens is the Strategic Policy Manager for the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), the peak industry body for the forest, wood and paper products industry. AFPA was formed in 2011 following the merger of the Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council (A3P) and the National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI). Mick was previously the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of NAFI.

Mick is a resource economist with over 20 years experience in forestry, industry and climate change policy, including public sector roles in ABARE, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics and CSIRO. From 2003 to 2006 he was Deputy Administrator of the Australian external territory of Norfolk Island, involved in land and public administration.

Mick’s research and policy focus included plantation development and sustainable forest management, rangelands, agroforestry, renewable energy, regional development, forest products industry and climate change policy. From 1998 to 2000 he worked on forestry climate change mitigation with the Canadian Forest Service. Mick has a degree in economics, postgraduate qualifications in environmental science and a Master of Forestry from the Australian National University.

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Dennis Mutton

Australian Landcare Council / Australian Rural Leadership Foundation

Dennis Mutton has extensive experience as chairman and director and CEO of a number of private and public sector organisations. He is presently Chairman of BioSA and CRC Pork Ltd and Director of WPG Resources Ltd. Besides his roles on Boards he practices as an independent consultant in industry development, regional growth initiatives, natural resource management, leadership and human resource development.

Dennis has previously held positions as Chair of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, Natural Resources Management Council of SA, Operation Flinders Foundation and directorships with the Australian Landcare Council, CRC Viticulture and Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Ltd.

Dennis has built strong strategic management skills and experience through his roles as Chief Executive of Primary Industries and Resources SA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as well as other executive positions in the private and public sector.

He holds an honours degree in Science, a Graduate Diploma in Management and is a Fellow of both the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management.

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Caroline Welsh

Birchip Cropping Group

Caroline has been a member of the BCG Board since 2007 and Chairman since 2012. She lives in Berriwillock and is a partner in the family grain farm with husband John Renney, and cousins, Kim and Nyree.

Caroline has a degree in Agricultural Science and a Master of Marketing (Agribusiness). She worked in the Irrigated Horticulture Section of the Department of Primary Industries, Swan Hill for 19 years in the areas of industry development, export marketing, extension, irrigation and climate.

Caroline received a Churchill Fellowship in 1998, travelling to Asia, South Africa and Chile to investigate markets and competitors of Swan Hill's fresh stone fruit exports. Her interests include group extension techniques, sustainability of local farming systems and the Berriwillock Community Development Group.

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Alexandra Gartmann

Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

Alexandra joined the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) in April 2011. For the 10 years prior to this she was CEO of the Birchip Cropping Group (BCG).

FRRR was established in 2000 by the Australian Government and the Sidney Myer Fund as a partnership between philanthropy, government and business designed to focus on rural, regional and remote Australia. Alexandra is a member of the National Rural Advisory Council and Chair of the CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship Advisory Council. She has been a member of the Australian Landcare Council, Victorian Floods Disaster Appeal Fund, the Federal Regional Women's Advisory Council and the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee.

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Ian Thompson

Department of Agriculture

Ian Thompson is First Assistant Secretary, Sustainable Resource Management Division in the Department of Agriculture.

In this role Ian is responsible for fisheries and sustainable agriculture policies and programs, weeds and pests management, water, community and Indigenous engagement and Landcare.

Ian has previously held SES positions responsible for plant industry policy, field crop issues, plant health, native title, drought management, water reform, rural adjustment, rural leadership and rural research issues.

Ian has a Bachelor of Natural Resources degree from the University of New England and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

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Leigh Radford

ABC Rural

Leigh Radford is the current National Editor of ABC Rural and joined the ABC as Rural Reporter in Melbourne in February 1988. He has worked at ABC regional stations in Horsham, Sale and Port Pirie and was the Executive Producer of ABC Rural programs in South Australia from 1997 until 2005.

Since the early 1990s up until January 2005, Leigh was the voice of the Country Hour in South Australia. He has broadcast programs from across the state and into the outback.

Leigh is a multi-award winning broadcaster, winning a number of Dalgety Awards for Excellence in Rural Journalism, including the national award in 1992. He has also won several Landcare awards, and was the inaugural winner of the Telstra Rural Journalist of the year award in 1996.

Leigh's background is in environmental sciences and he has an Honours Degree in Biogeography. Leigh is passionate about the people and issues of rural Australia and has a great love of the environment.

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Peter Stone

CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship

Peter Stone is Deputy Director, Sustainable Agriculture Flagship, CSIRO, and the Director of GISERA, the Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance. GISERA is a vehicle initiated by Australia Pacific LNG and CSIRO to foster collaborative public good research into the social and environmental challenges and opportunities associated with Australia's growing gas industry.

Peter's work history includes farm management, food industry consulting, grain trading and agricultural research. For much of the last 10 years, his research has focused on the use of contested land-based resources, seeking to understand the intersection of a range of scientific, community and industry perspectives.

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Keith DeLacy

Integrated Food and Energy Developments

Keith DeLacy is one of Queensland's best known company directors and public figures. He is Queensland President and sits on the National Board of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Over the years he has served as Chairman of Macarthur Coal, Queensland Sugar, Ergon Energy, the Cubbie Group, CEC, Trinity Group and a host of others.

Keith remains Chairman of Integrated Food and Energy Developments (which is developing the integrated agriculture project in the Etheridge Shire) and Stag Beef, and is a Director of the Reef Casino and Queensland Energy Resources.

He was Treasurer of Queensland from 1989 to 1996.

In recognition of his services to Australia, particularly regional Queensland, he has been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), Honorary Doctorates from James Cook and Central Queensland Universities, the University of Queensland Gatton Gold Medal, and the Centenary Medal.

His book Blood Stains the Wattle was published in 2002.

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Helal Ahammad


Dr Helal Ahammad leads the adaptation and biosecurity research program in ABARES.

Before joining (the then) ABARE in 2001, Dr Ahammad held research and teaching positions at the Australian National University and the University of Western Australia. His science-economics integrated research and policy advice focused on issues relating to agriculture and resources sectors, agricultural adaptation and international trade. He has published widely including in international refereed journals.

Helal is a lead author for the Fifth Assessment Report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He has contributed authorship to the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development global report Agriculture at a Crossroads and taken part in recent activities of AgMIP (Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project).

Helal earned Master's and PhD degrees in Economics from the Australian National University.

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Mick Keogh

Australian Farm Institute

Mick Keogh grew up on a farm in southern NSW. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in agriculture, both obtained at the University of NSW.

Mick's career has included periods of employment as a farm manager, a university researcher, an agribusiness consultant, an agricultural lobbyist and policy advisor.

In late 2003, he was appointed Executive Director of the Australian Farm Institute, an independent policy research institute that conducts research into strategic policy issues of importance to Australian agriculture.

Since that time, Mick has been involved in research into a wide range of issues impacting on the agricultural sector both in Australia and internationally, and has authored a large number of papers and reports on these subjects.

In 2011 Mick was appointed Chairperson of the Australian Government's panel which reviewed drought support measures. In 2012, Mick was appointed chairman of the Australian Government's National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC), a statutory council which provides advice to the Australian Government Minister for Agriculture.

Mick is also a member of the CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship Advisory Council and the Council of the University of Western Sydney Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment.

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Saan Ecker


Dr Saan Ecker has been employed in the ABARES Social Sciences section since 2008. Saan has over 20 years experience in the area of natural resource management and sustainable agriculture programs including management of multi-million dollar NRM programs.

Immediately prior to joining ABARES, Saan was a team leader for several projects to develop sustainable agriculture monitoring, reporting and change frameworks. Her PhD considered perceptions of sustainability amongst farmers, retailers and consumers.

Recent projects include a national project considering drivers of change in sustainable agriculture, a study into the role of agritourism and food tourism in supporting rural communities and studies looking at environmental stewardship, assessing social and psychological impacts of wild dog predation and the social science of protected areas.

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Ross Hampton

Australian Forest Products Association

Mr Ross Hampton was appointed CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association in May 2013. He is a veteran of the policy and political scene having worked at various times, as a reporter, adviser and policy advocate for the last twenty-five years in Australia and overseas.

Ross has a long exposure and association with the issues confronting the forest and forest products sector including water policy, climate change policy, trade policy, industrial relations policy and environment protection.

As Chief of Staff to the Australian Government Minister for the Environment in the mid 2000s, Ross played a key role in the development of forestry policy as well as policies which impact forestry industries. During this period Ross was one of the lead advisers in the Australian Government’s international climate change negotiations at United Nations and associated meetings in Washington, New York, London, Buenos Aires and Zurich.

Prior to joining AFPA, Ross led the development of the Australian public sector market for global networking giant Cisco system, and is credited with a significant share of the multi-million dollar growth Cisco enjoyed.

Ross grew up in northern NSW. He trained as a journalist and spent his early career reporting in the regions and then capital cities. Ross has achieved a Masters in Public Policy, majoring in the environment, from the ANU Crawford School of Economics and Government as well as a Bachelor degree from Curtin University.

Ross is married to Linda and has three school-aged children (as well as 600 olive trees and four ancient Land Rovers).

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Isabel MacNeill

Dairy Australia

With over 20 years service to the dairy industries in New Zealand and Australia, Isabel has experience across a range of disciplines including nutrition, marketing and communications, R&D and innovation management. She spent more than 15 years with the New Zealand Dairy Board (NZDB) and the Fonterra Co-operative Group in roles ranging from managing nutrition, technical support and health research for Fonterra's global consumer business to managing the Dairy Advisory Bureau - the generic marketing organisation for the NZDB. Other roles at Fonterra included technology leadership for health and bioactives and business innovation.

Isabel joined Dairy Australia in June 2006 and leads the Industry Promotion and Product Innovation team in the role of Group Manager. Most recently, Isabel has been a driver of the development of Dairy Australia's new 'Legendairy' initiative, designed to share the compelling stories of the people behind Australia's dairy industry - an initiative she describes as 'the single most exciting project of my career'. The Legendairy platform provides all participants with an anchor point and focus for a confident and consistent dairy story. By focusing messages on the core pillars of sustainability - enhancing livelihoods, reducing environmental impact and improving wellbeing - we can look to address and improve confidence and help secure the longevity of our industry.

However, the industry isn't just talking about what it does - it has committed to an Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework that sets out goals, objectives, targets and performance measures for 2020. The first Progress Report was released in November 2013 which provides the evidence that underpins our messages about the value of the Australian dairy industry.

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Jackie Healing


With over 20 years experience in food retailing globally, Jackie currently holds the position of General Manager - Responsible Sourcing, Quality and Technology with Coles Supermarkets where she leads the company frameworks and compliance programs for product safety, quality and sustainability. Jackie is also a panel member of the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Australia.

Jackie specialises in the development and implementation of retail change programs with growers and manufacturers who support the retailers' private label offer. Her focus is on developing differentiated products which are not only sustainable but commercially viable and relevant to customers.

Some of her recent achievements include the removal of artificial hormone growth promoters to aid tenderness in beef; the development of enhanced welfare programmes for meat quality in poultry and pigs; the removal of artificial colours and flavour enhancers from packaged foods; the development and implementation of a sustainable seafood initiative in partnership with a not for profit non government organisation and the reduction in salt levels of packaged foods without impacting flavour.

During her collegiate career, Jackie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and Agriculture from the University of Reading UK, graduating with Honors. It was her early passion for cooking and her school home economics classes that led her into this field.

Jackie moved to Australia in 2006 and now lives with her husband in Melbourne. In the time away from her busy schedule, she enjoys eating out and travel. She owns horses and is actively involved in equestrian competitive eventing.

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Richard Colbeck

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture

Senator. the Hon. Richard Colbeck was born in Tasmania and has lived on the north-west coast for most of his life.

Before entering politics, he worked in the construction industry for more than two decades.

Prior to being elected as Senator in 2001, he served as president of the Devonport Chamber of Commerce, and as a director of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was also an Alderman of the Devonport City Council. His involvement with politics grew over time following involvement with industry, business and school representative roles.

In the Howard Government, he served in various roles, including as the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Parliamentary Secretary for Finance. In October 2008 he was appointed Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

In May 2010, he was given the additional appointment of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. Engagement with local businesses - big and small - is an important part of this portfolio.

Following the August 2010 election, he was re-appointed to the Coalition Shadow Ministry in the positions of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry and also Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation, Industry and Science.

Richard Colbeck is married to Gaylene and has three children. He loves sport and has been involved with local sporting groups and clubs for many years.

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Michael Sheehy

PT Natural Resources Indonesia / Nuffield Scholor

Michael's passion for agriculture and agribusiness in Asia has lead to his current role as the Chief Operating Officer for PT Natural Resources Indonesia and Chief Finance Officer for its sister company PT Andalan Karunia Semesta. These businesses' portfolios include mining, timber and agriculture in Indonesia.

Michael has extensive experience working on Australian cattle, horse and sheep properties which included roles as Managing Director for Heytesbury Thoroughbreds and then Heytesbury Beef Asia which had an annual turnover of US$59 million. His other professional roles included Chairman of the Western Australian Regional Landcare group and Executive Committee member of the Northern Territory Cattleman's Association.

In 1993 Michael was awarded a Nuffield scholarship to study European agricultural trade policies and South East Asian agricultural trade opportunities in particular the live cattle trade in South East Asia. From January 2000 to December 2002 he was the managing director for the Asian Business Investment Fund, promoting investment opportunities in the food and agricultural sector in Asia.

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Catherine Marriott

Influential Women

Catherine Marriott is a passionate and lifelong advocate of all Australian farming systems. Growing up on a farm, she is inspired by agriculture and the people that work in this amazingly diverse, progressive and contributing industry. Catherine has worked both here in Australia and globally in the beef industry for the last 10 years and has developed a passion for, and deep understanding of, the role that Australian agriculture plays in feeding the world.

Catherine's experience in the cattle industry has given her a solid foundation to contribute to primary production more holistically. As a director of Influential Women, Catherine has developed specialist skills in agricultural communication, self-awareness coaching (MBTI accredited) and leadership facilitation and is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experiences with others.

Catherine recognises the importance of maintaining our social license in agriculture and is passionate about building relationships across the entire food supply chain. Without a social license, we have no product to sell and with increasing consumer pressure, we need to change the way we are engaging with our supply chain.

Catherine finds working with farmers on their messaging really rewarding as the passion and determination is there, with a few skills and some self awareness training, every day conversations, media interactions or public speaking opportunities can be made more effective and memorable for all involved.

Catherine is the 2012 WA RIRDC Rural Women's Award recipient and the national runner-up.

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Rick Roush

University of Melbourne

Rick Roush's career in sustainable agriculture spans research, teaching, regulatory, and administrative appointments in both the USA and Australia. Rick has served as Director of the University of California (UC) Integrated Pest Management and Sustainable Agriculture Programs (2003-2006), Director of the Cooperative Research Centre on Australian Weed Management (1998-2003), and as an associate professor at the University of Adelaide (1995-2003), Cornell University (1987-95) and Mississippi State University (1981-1986). Since December 2006, Rick has been Dean of School of Land and Environment at the University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Educated at the University of California with specializations in entomology and genetics, Rick earned his BSc at UC Davis (1976) and PhD at UC Berkeley (1979). Rick's research has focused on strategies to slow insect pests from evolving resistance to genetically modified crops and also risk assessment for GM herbicide tolerant crops.

From 1998 through 2003, Rick served on the Australian Government genetic engineering regulatory committees, and on panels for the US Environmental Protection Authority. He has advised the governments of China, Canada, the Philippines, Malaysia, South Africa, the Ukraine, and India.

As Dean of Land and Environment at the University of Melbourne, he leads 250 staff in a wide range of disciplines, including geography, forestry, agriculture, animal welfare, rural sociology, agricultural economics and hydrology. His interdisciplinary approach applies scientific, social, political and economic perspectives to address the needs of both human communities and the natural environment.

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The Hon Warren Truss MP

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

The Hon. Warren Truss MP is Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. A third generation farmer from the Kumbia district near Kingaroy in Queensland, Mr Truss first won the federal seat of Wide Bay in 1990.

He became Leader of the Nationals in 2007 and is the longest serving federal leader of any political party in Australia today.

He was a Minister in the Howard Government for 10 years, serving as Minister for Customs and Consumer Affairs in October 1997, and a year later, Minister for Community Services. In July 1999 Mr Truss became the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, where he served for six years. He became Minister for Transport and Regional Services in July 2005 and in September 2006, was appointed Minister for Trade.

Before entering Parliament, Mr Truss was a Kingaroy Shire Councillor (1976 to 1990), including seven years as Mayor. He was Deputy Chairman of the Queensland Grain Handling Authority and a member of the State Council of the Queensland Graingrowers Association for more than 10 years.

Mr Truss is also former State and National President of the Rural Youth Organisation and President of the Lutheran Youth of Queensland.

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Professor Sandra Harding

James Cook University

Professor Sandra Harding took up her appointment as Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University Australia in January 2007. In this role, she is responsible for ensuring clear and effective leadership and management of the University across all operating sites, including campuses in Cairns, Singapore and Townsville.

Professor Harding has extensive academic and academic leadership experience. An economic sociologist by training, her areas of enduring academic interest include work, organisation and markets and how they work. She also has a keen interest in public policy, particularly education policy and other policy domains affecting higher education.

Professor Harding has undertaken a wide variety of external roles within the business community and the higher education sector.

Her current roles include: Chair, Universities Australia; Member, the Australia-China Council Board; Co-Chair, the New Colombo Plan; Director, Regional Australia Institute; Council Member, the Australian Institute for Marine Science; Director, North Queensland Cowboys NRL club; Member, Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) Advisory Board; Member, Australian Research Council (ARC) Advisory Board; Director of Townsville Enterprises and of Advance Cairns (regional economic development bodies); and; a Governor of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA).

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Chris Mitchell

CO2 Group Limited

As a senior executive with CO2 Chris Mitchell has unique insight into carbon off-setting, carbon markets and the implementation of carbon policy to achieve practical outcomes.

Chris has a PhD in biology from the University of Melbourne, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has a 20 year involvement in Australian and international climate change research.

Prior to joining CO2 full-time, in 2008, Chris was the Foundation Director of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research – a partnership between CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. Prior to this he was the CEO of the CRC for Greenhouse Accounting.

He is adjunct professor at the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences at Murdoch University and is a member of the CSIRO’s Environment and Natural Resources Sector Advisory Committee.

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Paul Swan

Australian Wool Innovation

Dr Paul Swan is Group Manager, Business Intelligence and Reporting for Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).

Paul has 24 years of experience in the field of wool research and development, and has worked for AWI since its inception in 2001, both as an employee and consultant.

Paul has managed a number of investment portfolios within AWI, including the On-farm Research and Development portfolio, the Supply Chain and Wool Quality portfolio, and now the Market Intelligence and Trade Reporting area. Prior to joining AWI, Paul worked for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) for eight years, and operated a small wool textile consultancy business. Paul’s qualifications include a doctorate in wool science from the University of New South Wales.

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Stewart Lindsay

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry QLD

Stewart Lindsay leads the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s research and development team working in banana production systems. Stewart has been involved in banana research and development for 20 years, working in integrated pest management, supply chain improvement and quality management, sustainable farming practices and environmental management systems and crop timing management systems.

In 2006 and 2011 he worked with the Australian Banana Growers Council to develop crop recovery practices for north Queensland banana producers whose crops had been destroyed by Tropical Cyclones Larry and Yasi. This culminated in a project investigating and reporting pre- and post-cyclone management options to mitigate the impact of tropical cyclone damage on banana production.

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Bianca Nogrady

Bianca Nogrady is a freelance science journalist and author. In nearly a decade of freelance reporting, she has written for publications including Scientific American, The Australian, Ecos magazine, Australian Doctor, Medicine Today and the ABC’s health, science and environment websites. She has explored the length and breadth of science, covering issues ranging from climate change to cancer, fisheries management to HIV and everything in between.

Bianca is also author of The End: The Human Experience Of Death, and co-author of The Sixth Wave: How To Succeed In A Resource-Limited World, both published by Random House Australia.

Bianca has spoken at and chaired panels at events including the Sydney Opera House's Festival of Dangerous Ideas and the Brisbane Writers Festival, and is often heard on radio stations around the country talking about science and health.

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Lucy Gregg

Reid Fruits

Lucy is the Marketing and Business Development Manager for Reid Fruits since 2013 and was previously the Business Development Manager with Fruit Growers Tasmania for five years. Lucy sits on the Food Industry Advisory Committee, is Chair of Primary Industry Biosecurity Action Alliance and Chair of Cherry Growers Australia Marketing and Promotions. From 2009-2012 Lucy was on the Ministerial Taskforce on Export Certification Fee Reform for Horticulture.

Lucy is currently a board member of Cherry Growers Australia and a member of Horticulture Australia Cherry Industry Advisory Committee.

Lucy lives in Tasmania. She has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Applied Science in Horticulture and is a graduate of Australian Institute of Company directors.

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Rona Mellor

Department of Agriculture

Ms Rona Mellor commenced her position as Deputy Secretary with responsibility for biosecurity in February 2010. Rona is also responsible for the Department of Agriculture’s HR/people, service delivery, regulatory reform and compliance approach.

At the Department of Agriculture, Rona has led the development of reforms for Australia’s biosecurity policies and service delivery. Biosecurity reform has involved the development of new legislation, compliance approaches, IT and business architecture and funding models. Rona’s role also involves building strong international connections and relationships with states and territories, and across the Australian public service.

Rona was appointed as a deputy secretary in 2006 in the Department of Human Services (DHS) when the Department was developing an approach to integrated service delivery. She led the development of integrated service delivery approaches and as a Deputy Chief Executive of Medicare Australia from late 2007, transformed Medicare’s service delivery capability by implementing electronic claiming.

Prior to joining DHS, Rona spent 20 years with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) – 13 as a member of the senior executive, culminating in the position of First Assistant Commissioner of the Policy Management Division. Over this time Rona’s responsibilities included leading significant change, the design and implementation of major business process reforms and implementation of administrative design in the new policy processes. She worked closely with the Inspector-General of Taxation to improve ATO practices, and with the Treasury on improving law design. She developed many new tax policy proposals and worked as a Senior Tax Counsel involved in complex interpretative issues.

Rona has qualifications in law (LLB, University of Queensland) and experience in large-scale, operational environments. Rona is a fellow of the Institute of Public Policy at the ANU and Executive Fellow of ANSZOG.

Rona was awarded the PSM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for 2013 for outstanding public service in the development and implementation of biosecurity, taxation and health system policies and projects.

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Andrew Robinson

University of Melbourne

Andrew Robinson is an applied statistician and mensurationist who focuses on quarantine biosecurity, ecology, and forestry. Andrew is Deputy Director of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis, and has been seconded to that role from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Melbourne. He spends most of his time working with the Department of Agriculture on analytical problems of quarantine biosecurity.

Andrew has co-authored more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and three books. He has a PhD in Forestry and a MS in Statistics from the University of Minnesota, and has taught forestry and/or statistics over the past three decades at the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, the University of Minnesota and the University of Idaho. He is noted as one of the very few forestry graduates, world-wide, who actually prefers to be indoors.

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Natalie Williams

Nuffield Scholar

Natalie is a 2012 Nuffield Scholar having studied soil carbon sequestration and how farmers could create wealth for themselves in the carbon trading realm.

Natalie lives with her husband and two children on Granville Station, a property that is almost the geographic centre of Queensland. The 18,000 acre station has a carrying capacity of 1800 breeders plus progeny in normal climate seasons. The country and soil is managed using an intensive rotational cattle management system, which has enabled a seven fold increase in carrying capacity above the district average. Whilst Granville Station may seem large, it is actually small for the area, with average properties being around 35,000 to 45,000 acres in area.

Natalie has retired from her nursing career to manage the jointly run business and to pursue her interest in sustainable agri-ecosystems.

The business has been involved in long term benchmarking (14 years) of the whole business process, which takes into account labour use efficiency, opportunity costs, ecological activity, off farm investments and all the normal financial indicators. This has been pivotal in accurate assessment of long term outcomes of soil management and financial viability of changing to sustainable practices for positive triple bottom line outcomes (financial, animal welfare and ecological).

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Rory Brennan

Infrastructure Australia

Rory joined Infrastructure Australia in August 2008 and is currently the acting National Infrastructure Coordinator.

Rory has extensive experience in infrastructure delivery, ranging from Australia’s purchase of frigates from the US Navy to Sydney’s Desalination Plant and its supply of renewable energy.

Rory has specific responsibility for developing the Infrastructure Priority List, administering the Infrastructure Tax Incentive, promoting local and offshore private investment in Australian infrastructure, the National Public Private Partnership Policy and Guidance, and the energy, water and indigenous infrastructure sectors.

Rory’s topic is “Infrastructure for Australian agriculture – linked to customers’ needs”. Infrastructure Australia is promoting pilot projects to test that the concept that a commercial approach to providing freight access to rural roads is viable and that there is demand for such access.

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Ross Kingwell

Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre

Currently Ross is chief economist at the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, which is a joint initiative of the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. Ross is also a professor at the School of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Western Australia (UWA). He serves on a Department of Agriculture Expert Advisory Panel and chairs the Australian Farm Institute’s research advisory committee.

Ross has been a co-editor of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, president of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society and is a distinguished fellow of that society. In a recent book on the history of DAFWA Ross is listed of one its 50 most historically influential people. His research interest and expertise in farming systems analysis have taken him to several developing and developed countries. He has recently co-authored a report on Australia’s export grains supply chains.

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Manny Noakes

CSIRO Health and Wellbeing

Professor Manny Noakes is a Research Program Leader at the CSIRO’s Animal, Food and Health Sciences division.

Manny graduated from Adelaide University in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science, and then obtained her qualifications as a dietician at Flinders University in 1977, receiving her PhD in 2000.

Previously member of the Department of Health and Aging Food and Health Dialogue, former Chair of the Heart Foundation's Nutrition and Metabolism Advisory Committee and currently a member of the Australian Government’s Food and Health Dialogue and member of FSANZ High Level Health Claims Committee; Manny has been involved in the development and oversight of several comprehensive evidence-based position papers on key nutrition issues that relate to diet and cardiovascular disease.

Manny was also a member of the advisory panel for the Food Information Program Criteria Working Group which has provided an excellent framework for developing nutrition benchmarks for food categories.

Manny is the author of over 140 scientific papers and is the co-author of the Total Wellbeing Diet.

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Neil Barr

Department of Environment and Primary Industries VIC

Neil grew up on a small orchard block less than 30 kilometres from Melbourne, with many small farms in the neighbourhood and few made high incomes. It was a poor rural community. Today that suburb has one of the highest taxable incomes of any postcode in Victoria. No-one farms.

Neil explains the reasons for this change are multiple: the terms of trade squeeze, the expansion of Melbourne settlement into the rural hinterland, the transformation of the fresh food supply chain and the opportunities presented for the young by the opening up of the tertiary education system. Neil is the first generation on his mother's side of the family not to have a direct connection to working the land and he is not alone. There are today more first generation non-farmers than there are remaining farmers.

Neil has spent much of his professional life researching this transformation and notes the irony as he purposefully studied research psychology to escape horticulture as an occupation. The discipline of research psychology led to a series of positions at the University of Melbourne and in the Victorian Public Service, two post-graduate research degrees and two published books, all focussed on Australian farmers. Today Neil is interested in the patterns of demographic restructuring within Australian agriculture.

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Tania Motton

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

Tania is the General Manager, Regional Business Banking (RBB) – a business spanning 29 regions across Australia, with over 500 staff supporting, commercial and agribusiness customers. Tania has worked for ANZ for 12 years, with her roles including Business Banking, Small Business and Group areas. Her previous role was as Chief of Staff to ANZ CEO Mike Smith.

Tania has varied experience across a broad range of industries, including:

  • Twelve years in banking and finance (ANZ) - including sales and corporate roles
  • Five years consulting (Accenture) – including due diligence, large outsourcing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and alliance investment appraisals
  • Three years in the natural resources sector (Aurora Gold and Santos) - various commercial analyst roles across oil, gas and gold mining.

Tania has lived and worked around Australia and in Thailand, Japan and the US. Her current role sees her travelling across Australia to meet with staff and customers in regional communities.

Tania is a Certified Practising Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. She mentors a range of staff across ANZ, is an Executive Sponsor of ANZ Generalist Bankers and a member of the Corporate Sustainability and Diversity Committee, which provides oversight and strategic advice on current and emerging corporate sustainability and diversity issues and opportunities.

Tania is originally from Korumburra in Gippsland, Victoria, and now lives in Melbourne. She enjoys travel, pilates and surfing.

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Andrew Ash


Dr Andrew Ash is a Senior Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences in Brisbane, Queensland. His research focuses on climatically variable tropical rangelands and livestock systems in northern Australia and south-east Asia with a particular emphasis on developing management systems to improve profitability and environmental outcomes for rural communities.

Andrew has undertaken innovative research on seasonal climate forecasts for tropical agricultural systems. He has also investigated how climate change will shape agricultural systems in northern Australia and explored adaptation options to these impacts.

He was the inaugural Director of CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship, a position he held from 2007 until 2013. Over this time the Flagship grew from a small base to a broad-ranging research program.

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Karl Braganza

Bureau of Meteorology

Karl Braganza is the manager of the Climate Monitoring section at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. This section is responsible for collecting and analysing climate data for Australia and the region. It provides sector-relevant climate information related to drought, bushfires and extreme weather events and climate variability. His research has focussed on understanding climate variability and change using climate modelling, instrumental observations and palaeo-climate evidence.

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Daryl Quinlivan

Productivity Commission

Daryl Quinlivan was appointed as Head of Office at the Productivity Commission in 2012. Daryl joined the Commission following his role as Deputy Secretary at the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. He has worked as a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and in a variety of economic and industry policy agencies at the federal level.

Daryl holds a Bachelor of Arts from Monash University (Hons) and Bachelor of Economics degree from the Australian National University.

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Yiping Huang

Peking University

Yiping Huang is currently Professor of Economics at the China Center for Economic Research, Peking University. His previous roles included as Managing Director and Chief Asia Economist for Citigroup based in Hong Kong; General Mills International Professor at the Columbia University in New York; Director of the China Economy Program at the Australian National University in Canberra and policy analyst at the Research Center for Rural Development of the State Council in Beijing. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Australia National University; a Master’s degree in Economics from Renmin University of China, and a Bachelor’s degree from Zhejiang Agricultural University.

Professor Huang’s research interests include macroeconomic policy, international finance, rural development and Chinese and Asian economies.

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Michael Edmonds

Meat & Livestock Australia

Michael Edmonds was appointed General Manager, Global Marketing for Meat & Livestock Australia in March 2012.

Prior to joining MLA, Michael was the General Manager Sales and Marketing, Top Cut Foods, a division of Simplot Australia. Michael was appointed to the role in early 2009 after Simplot had acquired a majority stake in Top Cut Foods. Top Cut is a national and international provider of value added fresh and cooked meats and meals to the foodservice, retail and manufacturing sectors. Michael’s role was to bring a national focus around a product portfolio, and build national sales and marketing skills.

Michael’s career has been spent predominately working for consumer goods companies and building brand value for both Australian and global companies. These include:

  • Fosters Australia (2005-2008): responsible for the cider, spirits and soft drinks categories, a portfolio that included the brands of Strongbow cider and Cascade beverages. The Cascade beverage plant in Hobart processed large quantities of Tasmania’s apple, blackcurrant and raspberry crops for these beverage brands.
  • Mars Incorporated: joined in 1995 and responsible for management of several brands including M&Ms, Snickers and Mars, and portfolios including the sugar confectionery brand portfolio in Australia, the UK and Europe.

Michael grew up in the rural town of Colac, Victoria, and whilst not from a farming family, has a level of understanding of the importance of agriculture to a rural economy. Michael has a Bachelor of Economics and postgraduate Masters of Marketing from Monash University.

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